ESP Biography



ANYA THETFORD, board member from UChicago Splash!




Major: Psychology

College/Employer: University of Chicago

Year of Graduation: Not available.

Picture of Anya Thetford

Brief Biographical Sketch:

I grew up in Steeler Country and am now in my fourth year as a Psychology major at the University of Chicago. I'm doing a joint degree as well, so I'm starting my MA at the School of Social Service Administration.

My interests mainly lie in education and child welfare, as well as bilingualism and ESL. My (rather un-)free time is occupied by various musical, theatrical, lingual, and culinary pursuits.

As a founding member of Splash! Chicago, I am really excited to be serving on the board for the program's fourth!

I'm happy to be here from Chicago for the weekend!



Past Classes

  (Look at the class archive for more.)


Thinking about Places in Splash! 2009 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2009)
In this class, we'll have an open discussion about the places we know well, what makes them different from other places, and how they absorb cultural identities. We may talk about some or all of the following: our stereotypes of places; what we like or dislike in a place; what it really is about places that creates meaning; the differences between shallow expressions of local culture and more meaningful ones; the effect of different time periods and technologies and cultural movements on how we experience place; whether very small details can change individuals' views of places; how individuals can have different impressions of the same places. Please come to this class with your own ideas on some of the issues raised in this description, or other related issues. Be ready to share your ideas, think about others' ideas, and see where the conversation takes us. There will be a lot of pictures and maps to spur conversation, and I'll be ready to look for pictures on the fly to illustrate examples we may end up discussing.


Introduction to Human Rights in Splash! 2009 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2009)
We're starting to hear the term "Human Rights" more and more both at home and abroad, but what are human rights? What is the philosophical basis for human rights and what do human rights look like in practice? We'll be answering these questions and more in this class!


Write Your Name in Arabic! in Splash! 2009 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2009)
Interested in the Arabic language? Don't let the alphabet scare you away! In this class, we'll go through the letters and numbers of the Arabic alphabet: how to write them, how they connect, and what sounds map onto them. Once you learn the alphabet, sounding out words is a piece of cake since Arabic is 100% phonetic. Plus you'll leave the class with a new way to impress your friends--writing your name in Arabic!


Not Just Handwaving in Spark! Spring 2009 (Mar. 07, 2009)
Many nonverbal behaviors reveal our emotions, yet there is only one that can be claimed to expose our thoughts. Gesture is an inseparable part of speech, communication and thought which can be studied through the lens of psychology, linguistics, and other social sciences. In this class, we'll talk a bit about what constitutes a gesture, the different kinds of gestures, and their cultural relativity. We'll focus in on what research tells us about gesture's expression of and role in our cognitive processes and strive to answer the perplexing question--why do we gesture the way we do anyway?


Ascesis and Praxis in Spark! Spring 2009 (Mar. 07, 2009)
From juice fasting detoxes, military xerophagy, and hunger strikes to Ramadan, Yom Kippur, and Lent, people all around the world practice different types of fasting at different times for different reasons. Fasting for religious and spiritual reasons has been a part of human custom since pre-history and fasting has been recommended as a therapeutic intervention by physicians of most cultures, throughout history, from ancient to modern. Fasting is also often used as a tool to make a political statement, to protest or to bring awareness to a cause. Let's take a look at a few examples of fasting and abstinence practices, and then discuss reasons why we fast and some possible benefits of the various practices.


King...or Yang di-Pertuan Agong? in Spark! Spring 2009 (Mar. 07, 2009)
Duke or Sultan? Infanta or Princess? Tsarevich or Khan? Whose royal highness is it? And what's a consort anyway? In this class we'll take a shot at cracking the whole gamut of royal titles world-wide...or at least we'll get through a fine selection! (Yeah, I bet you didn't know that Yang di-Pertuan Agong is the title of the highest ranking office in Malaysia...who is an elected monarch, by the way. Pretty neat, right?)


What Not to Wear in Spark! Spring 2009 (Mar. 07, 2009)
"You're wearing what? You can't go out of the house like that!" We've all heard these words at some time or another, and we might have an idea of what not to wear, but have we learned what to wear? After checking out a few fashion disasters and taking a bit of Trinny and Susannah's advice, we'll move on to more serious business: what not to wear in an interview. We'll talk about how to avoid wardrobe malfunction and why what you wear actually does make a difference. Remember, you want the interviewer to be listening to what you're saying, not critiquing what you're wearing. But don't worry--you can wear what you want to class!


Ahlan wa Sahlan bikum fi al-Urdun! Welcome to Jordan! in SPLASH (2007)
Students will be introduced to the culture of Jordan by a teacher who has recently returned from an eleven week ...


Mοναχός: A History and Exploration of Monasticism in SPLASH (2007)
Through readings and discussion, we will become acquainted with the history of monasticism and the various forms of monastic-like practice ...


Telling Our Stories: The Importance of Narrative in SPLASH (2007)
In this course, students will explore the importance of narrative from a mainly psychological (but also a sociological and historical) ...